Chowhound & Weight Watchers? Can it be done?
I did WW while am also a 'hound who works in a restaurant, so I had extra challenges--we are modern comfort food, priding ourselves on enourmous portions (oh, the fun of figuring the points out on a plate full hash browns, two slices of toast painted with butter and a 3 egg omelet full of stuff...) but here are the things I found most fun about being a CH on WW:
1) Finding cool new foods that you wouldn't have otherwise tried, like Quark!
2) Getting to spend the whole day obsessing about food, thinking about points and what you're going to eat that night without feeling guilty
3) Being able to 'earn' the right to bad foods through activity points. That I can eat Steak Frites as long as I exercise enough motivated me so much that I ran a half-marathon last week!
Being chowhound & a weight watcher is completely possible. The CORE plan is the best, IMHO. You teach yourself to eat until satisfied, eating a wide variety of foods, whole grains, leanish meats. I think it's a excellent plan that one can use for life. Counting points would drive me to drink.
I totally agree! Core Rocks! I feel like I am on punishment counting points.
I have come up with so many healthy food ideas using the core ingredients. I rediscovered my grill, all sorts of things with peppers. I even grill fruit---yum.
For me, exercise is a must-- I find that I also eat lighter and more sensibly when I exercise.
Did WW a few years ago and still maintain that "point" mindset. Always found breakfast to be the most difficult because of the boredom factor. For a low point breakfast - I can only eat so many egg white/veggie omelets - that's good and filling and only 2-3 points (depends on your particular brand of ingredients) - my version of an egg mcmuffin:
Fry an egg white - 0 pt (large or x-large) in Pam. I actually found a one egg frying pan at a kitchen outlet store and think they're available online. Cook a slice of turkey bacon - micro or pan (I use Wellshire Farms - 1 slice - 20 cals, 0 pts). Use a 100% whole wheat Eng muffin (2 pts) or Thomas' multigrain light (1 pt). I toast my Eng muffin first because I don't like a soft inside, but it's a mattter of preference. Layer everything along with a 1 pt slice of low fat cheese - your choice - or spread 1/2 a Laughing Cow Lite triangle on each side of muffin, then add everything else. Slice of tomato, too, if you like. Easiest to cook in George Foreman grill or panini maker, but can be done in frying pan or even in toaster oven.
Certainly not as good as whole eggs with English muffin slathered in butter, but a hell of a lot better than "good enough."
I see your point about flavorful foods, but I'm not sure whether it works that well. I tend to want every meal to taste amazing, and if it does, I'll end up having bigger portions. I'm reading the book "You on a Diet" which is Chowhound-friendly (well, except the no-butter part), and the author says it's most effective to eat almost the same thing for breakfast and/or lunch every day. Of course, those things can still be flavorful, but the thinking is that having a quick go-to meal like a vegeburger with whole wheat english muffin and lettuce most days is more effective, diet-wise, than searching around your pantry or your neighborhood for whatever seems yummiest for lunch that day.
That's interesting advice (to me) about the breakfast/lunch thing. I effectively do that (I've got pretty limited time, so it's much easier for me to do it that way).
I put all of my cooking 'energy' into dinner. It's still low point (believe me!), but I try pretty hard to make it really tasty (and usually I'm successful). It's a very planned meal, so there's little 'searching around in my pantry.' I just find it too hard to come up with something lowpoint and tasty via that method.
All I can say is that so far, this works for me (I lost roughly 40 lbs on WW about 4 years ago, and have kept it off (save for those darn pregnancies!)). I eat chowish food that I love.
Totally agree with this. During the week - I eat the exact same things over and over. Shredded Wheat with bran for breakfast (keeps me full till lunch for sure) and for lunch homemade vegetable soup with a toasted whole wheat pita and low fat hummus (my freezer is stocked with homemade vegetable soups- it's not hard, once you get in the habit of making batches). I never have to think about what I'm going to eat - and I still have lots of room to have something more interesting for dinner.
I'm a complete Chowhound and lost 50 lb on WW in the last year.
Things that helped..
1. No Fat Sour Cream makes a amazing creamy sauce that won't break when boiled.
2. If you eat those pre packaged dinner (I Know, very un-chowish, but..) add a handful of Arugula or baby spinach to your bowl when it is done. No need to cook, just stir.
3. Remember that some chow is worth the points. I'd rather have one ounce of Stilton than 10 ounces of fat free cheese.
4. Pop your own fat free popcorn in the microwave and add spices
5. Spice it up and you won't miss the fat
Good luck. Being a chowhound will make the journey easier.
There are many ways to chowhound with WW Core plan. The emphasis is on fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, whole grains . Protein is important (eggs, lean chicken and fish are a big part of the plan).
I have found so many recipes that can be adapted to meet both my Chowhound cravings and my WW Core lifestyle. My weightwatcher's leader collects cookbooks and attends cooking classes. She has lost over 100 lbs and has kept it off for many years. My dream this year is to start writing my memoir cookbook. I have so many friends from so many parts of the world that have shared with me their cooking and fun that I want to record it.
If I have the need to splurge on food I really shouldn't eat, I just cook for my friends. It makes them very happy!
Also recipes can be "slimmed down" The amazing thing is that flavors come alive (for me at least) with less fat and refined carbs.
The weightwatchers website has all sorts of helpful tips, recipes. It's really not a diet but a lifestyle change.
Going to my meeting at 10 am today.
I've acquired a few new go-to items that I cook a lot of and that I'm allowed to eat a lot of (on the core plan), because I still am fond of "volume eating."
Quinoa! I eat it hot while the rest of my family is eating white rice, and at room temperature in any kind of salad/lunch melange.
100% buckwheat soba.
Roasted peppers by the ton. I do them on the grill and keep them whole until the end, so as to get as much of the flavorful juice as possible. That is more than halfway to salad dressing.
Roasted and grilled every-possible-other-kind-of-vegetable.
Collards with pot likker, made with smoked turkey parts. This stuff is terrific. It encourages greed.
Breakfast oatmeal with an apple grated into it. Needs no sweetener. Likewise a grated pear or mashed banana into no-fat yogurt.
Finn Crisp crackers seem to have a point value of close to zero. I like to spread them with chickpeas that I've mashed with a lot of lemon and some shiro miso. My kids end up stealing half of this off my plate.
Tom yum goong (hot and sour shrimp soup) and squid salad at a Thai restaurant really feels like a treat, and it's totally legal. Go really nuts and get some grilled chicken.
one of my favorite meals right now is a raw puntanesca salsa over grilled fish.
chop up 2-3 roma tomatos
1 tablspoons of capers
5 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
2 anchovies, minced (optional)
salt, pepper and drizzled of olive oil and a splash of cold water
mix all together and let sit at room temp for about an hour.
scoop over a piece of grilled white fish or chicken, grilled with just salt and pepper.
When I cook lunches, I tend to make a huge batch and freeze. This is great to do with vegetable soup and lasagna. Trying to figure out calories is easier when you make a big batch, as you look at the calories per serving, multiply by servings per container and that is how much is in the whole container. Then cook everything together and divide into equal portions, adding total calories and dividing by number of containers.
Sounds like a pain, but I now have pre-calculated recipes that I just whip up and know how many calories are in them. It takes prep work in the beginning, but is so worth it.
I just fit into my old skinny jeans this past week! They are still not comfortable enough to wear, but they zip up now and before they wouldn't go over my thighs! (walking on my treadmill in front of the tv really sped up my weight loss)
I was scrolling through the chowhound recipes wondering how to adapt to my new WW routine (lost 7 and have 5 to go!) and look what I found! Thank you VERY much for posting your ideas.
My favorite easy WW recipe is Parmesan Chicken
Shake boneless skinless chicken breasts in about 1/4 cup each grated parmesan cheese and Italian bread crumbs. Bake on a rack until done. Easy and tasty!
Keep the recipes coming, please!!!
Niccole--it's a hassle at first to point out your favorite recipes, but totally worth it. You quickly learn shortcuts, as well as what the point counts are on some of your favorite items (e.g. 1Tb butter is 3 pts). A lot of the food advice you're getting here is good--you quickly learn that a bit of protein (4oz, maybe), plus some brown rice and heap load o' vegetables will keep you full with a low point count.
lost 70, kept it off for 4 years and still going. I use the WW cookbooks, and alter recipies I find here, online, in the paper, and so on.
I use roast cauliflower, instead of potatoes, starch, cream or flour, to thicken soups...just roast and blend with a hand blender in the stock.
Skip the pre-packaged crap..just fllow the advice above about fresh produce and meats...use brown rice instead of white and whole grains whenever possible.
Look for great fish, bean, tofu and chicken recipies..skip the red meats if you can!
replace sugar with spenda if you can.
I stir fry with a non stick pan, a bit of Pam and add chicken or veggie broth if things get too dry.
Grilling a lot helps, if you can. Grilled fish or veggies with a light spray of Olie oil pam or olive oil.
Take your Olive oil, and put it in a spritzer bottle..you apply less than when you brush it on, but enough to work well.
I also don't put oil in my salad dressings...I just use balsamic or red vinegar, sometimes low sodium/sugar sasoned vinegar. Sometimes for thickening I whisk in mustard.
I've lost over 115 lbs on WW and have kept most of it off for 4 years. (I gained back 15 lbs recently, lost 6 of it again) I cook all the time. I find recipies from Shape, Fitness, and Self magazines to be awesome. They give you a nutrition count so it's easy to calculate points and they are so delicious, my husband can't even tell they're WW friendly.
Buy the best, freshest produce you can. This time of year, especially, roasted vegetables are great and you control the oil. The tastiest solution is to make your own everything so you know what goes into it, not depending on a label. Plus, I find home made goods are so much better that a little satisfies me.
I've posted by Curves Diet vinaigrette before but here it is again:
2 T orange juice, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 T red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 T EVOO. Add any herbs you would like, esp if they are fresh.
Typical salad is 1/2 c sliced onion, 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatos, 1 slice of deli cheese julienned, 2-3 C chopped romaine. I might add 4 ozs of cooked turkey or eat 2 small roasted chicken drumsticks (from Schwan's frozen foods home delivery service). Dessert is some fresh fruit.
I found it easiest to choose fresh fruit instead of trying to cut calories in a baked item esp because I refuse to use artificial sweeteners.
Breakfast sandwich is one piece of whole grain toast with 1/2 cup Egg Beaters scrambled, 1 slice of provolone cheese and 2 slices of deli ham (not honey cured). I've since switched to 2 cage free eggs instead of Egg Beaters because of price.
Lundberg makes a wonderful brown rice blend that is much tastier than a plain brown rice. A great snack is 3 Bistro crackers (multi grain) spread with hummus plus a clementine or an apple plus one stick of low fat mozzarella string cheese.
I liked the rule of thumb that 4oz of meat is the size of a deck of cards. Drink water instead of fruit juice (avoid high fructose corn syrup).
Vitamuffins make low cal things that my parents really like and are WW's.
My parents are also addicted to those mini soy crisps for their sweet teeth... they sell 'em all over, but www.soycrisps.com is where you can check 'em out.
Shirataki is a good pasta sub for some things; consider also spaghetti squash and kelp noodles as subs.
They also eat a lot of sugar-free fat-free pudding, and my stepdad swears the dairy was what helped him drop so much weight... They also top it w/ fat free reddi whip (I know but if you like it, you like it...)
Snack on lower cal fruits like strawberries or melon... Top with a little fat free sour cream and a bit of brown sugar splenda blend.
Focus on fiber and veggies... dishes like veggie soup that fill you with broth and are palates for flavorful additions. Ratatouille cooked without oils or at least minimal is a great snack.
Total 0% Yogurt mixed w/ splenda, and sometimes a high fiber cereal.
Fish cooked in papillote, roasted chicken are both flavorful and healthy versions.
One other non-edible rec is to use their journals or keep your own... If you have to write down exactly what you eat, you're more likely to not indulge in the nibble of cheese or fingertip of frosting. Also, when you're done eating, brush your teeth to get the taste out of your mouth. When you cook chew a piece of gum, if you're cooking something that you don't need to taste along the way, which when you're being "good" is preferable.
Weight Watchers taught me to love balanced meals and lots of veggies. Now my favorite home-cooked meal is a piece of chicken or fish, a little brown rice, and tons of steamed brocolli. And a juicy orange for dessert. When you start with top-quality ingredients, there's nothing non-chowish in a meal like that!
And my best quick recipe is from Weight Watchers long, long ago: Clam Linguini. Saute minced garlic in 1 tsp olive oil, add a can of minced clams (with the liquid) and heat through, then add some chopped fresh parsley. Serve over cooked linguini (however much you decide you should eat). Quick, easy, and fabulous! Be sure to have a big salad and some veggies with this dish to keep your meal balanced.
Shrimp and veal are surprisingly low in calories. For a splurge dinner, have a veal chop on a bed of arugula with a lemon squeezed over. If you start your meals with a cup of a light soup, you will fill up faster and feel like you have a multicourse meal. Roasted red pepper and eggplant soup is really good and light in calories. Try Cooking Light magazine, they often come up with winners (including the pepper-eggplant soup.)
I just came across this delicious recipe that I haven't made in years. It is great for when you are tired of chicken, chicken, chicken. Garlic Meatballs with Avgolemono Sauce:
Coconutz, you've made the Garlic Meatballs? What an unusual recipe...does the spinach filling ooze out of the meatballs at all? Also, I've never heard of steaming ground meat!? Sounds, well, kind of gross...does that recipe really work? Probably what caught my eye was the Avgolemono sauce...have recently tried the soup from a local Greek restaurant and now I crave the stuff...it's delicious! And somehow, the orzo they use in their soup is so much larger than what I can find in the stores....
I think cooking at home is the best way to stay on target with healthy meals... you get to control the amount of sodium and fat that goes into your food instead of heating up prepackaged foods.
This board has been full of posts lately concerning subbing skim milk for cream, what to use instead of butter, using whole wheat flour instead of white, low-sodium alternatives to kick up dishes, etc.
One of the best tips I know that really works is using applesauce in place of oil or butter in baked goods. It keeps cakes and muffins moist and tasty, but without the apply flavor and you don't really miss the butter. Now, for recipes like scones or pie crust, where the texture depends on the butter/flour interaction, this probably won't work.
Using either half ww flour in recipes generally makes it healthier without affecting the texture you usually get with ww flour. There's also a white ww flour available that does a good job of mimicking white flour (King Arthur is a good brand, but I've also see it in bulk at my health food store).
Many creamy sauces can be mimicked by making a roux (flour and butter) with skim milk instead of cream, or thickened by adding cornstarch to a broth-based sauce.
Good luck and have fun with your cooking!
I Lost 75 lbs on Weight Watchers I have a little more to go to get to my goal weight but it can be done. The one thing I found surprising is how good most of the WW recipies are in the books or online. My Partner in crime, Dommy! had a good sense of humor when I brought home a book to try, but she no longer has that smirk when I mention trying a new WW Recipe. Last week I made a WW Online recipe a Mock Shepards pie with Turkey Italian Sausage and was topped with Mashed yams. Also Dommy! made Spicy Pumpkin Soup from The Simpley Bueno WW Cookbook which was very good
I would also suggest using the Online component to the program. The Online Database is much better the the books by for points conversion plus you have access to recipes and it is easier to plan menu with the tools and if you have a Palm they have software for that which you can use on the go and sync it with the online Database
Good Luck and take care
i'm a WW foodie...I've been following the plan for a few weeks now and i'm down 6lbs. I have about 20 more to go...it's really about making better choices.
I food journal is a very important thing. Until you actually see (on paper) everything you put in your mouth you have no idea what you are really eating. i was very surprised at the amount of food I was eating. Once i saw it on paper I found ways to cut back, change my options and have better meals.
I, too, found myself plumping up nicely, and joined weight watchers last summer. These sites have been great for me, as is www.weightwatchers.com. About 30 lbs lighter, I'm all about group meetings!! I do the core plan for the sheer simplicity of it and absolutely love it.